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Press Release: 10 April 2001

Foot and Mouth Crisis: - Church should promote new farming strategy

Christian Ecology Link (CEL) Britain's largest church-based environmental charity, today called for Church leaders to promote radical reforms to the food system in response to the farming crisis.

CEL is advocating a shift towards local, organically grown food and has developed the LOAF principles. Locally produced food means shorter journeys for farm animals; Organic production improves soil structure and benefits wildlife; Animal-friendly means that our fellow creatures are treated more humanely; and Fairly Traded foods ensure that those who produce the food get a fair wage. These principles should be adopted by Church Leaders.

CEL member Euan McPhee, a livestock farmer, said "Like the majority of smallholders in Cornwall, I am of the view that the slaughter and burning and burial of animals suffering from Foot and Mouth disease should not happen again. There should be a policy of vaccination. The exporting and importing of meat is not sustainable, and we should treat animals better." He was backed by another CEL member, and small-holder, Mike Pauley, deacon in an evangelical church who has taken advice from a local expert on livestock farming and favours vaccinating cattle and isolating sheep.

"There is a strong moral case for opposing the slaughter of healthy animals from a Christian perspective. Even at a practical level, the huge cull will be counter-productive if it cannot be managed effectively" said CEL chairman, Tim Cooper.

CEL's Annual Conference Heaven and Earth: What Christianity Teaches about Land Use to be held at Ryton Organic Gardens, near Coventry, on 13 October 2001, is to be addressed by the Rt Rev John Oliver Bishop of Hereford. The Conference is to be opened by Lord Beaumont of Whitley, the Green Party Peer.
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